Saturday, May 21, 2011

At Home: A Short History of Private Life - Bill Bryson

If you enjoy Bill Bryson’s travel books, there’s plenty to enjoy in At Home: a Short History of Private Life. Doubleday, 2010. Call Number: 909 BRY

Bryson, discovering a small door leading nowhere, on the roof of his own home, a former Church of England rectory, built in 1851, looks at the fascinating history of his house and the contents, room by room. He examines everyday things, glass windows, salt and pepper, ice, mouse traps, indoor plumbing, and upholstered furniture. This is the extraordinary story of how everyday life at home evolved, relationships between people and the space they occupy, their possessions, how far we have come and how we got here. Bryson’s wry humor leads us from flammable hoop skirts, and very unsanitary kitchens, to cookbooks, house servants, and regular mealtimes.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Assistance for Tornado Survivors, Ways to Help, and Job Opportunities

We have resources! (Updated 5-8-11)

Assistance for Tornado Survivors, Ways to Help, and Job Opportunities

Jefferson County, Alabama

Call 2-1-1 in Alabama for assistance/information of any kind.
En espaƱol: HICA helpline 866-502-4422; La Casita:

FEMA/Federal Emergency Management Agency (
800-621-3362 / TTY 800-462-7585

The FEMA disaster recovery centers In Jefferson County are located at:
- Union Hill Baptist Church, 7049 Taylors Ferry Road, Bessemer, Ala.
- National Guard Armory, 140 Cane Creek Road, Warrior, Ala.
- In front of the Ashley Furniture Store on Lowery Parkway in Fultondale, Ala.

Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency

Alabama Possible website - Alabama tornado relief: How you can help (

Alabama Department of Insurance

Major Insurance Co. Claims Departments
- State Farm 800-732-5246
- ALFA 800-964-2532
- Allstate 800-255-7828
- Farmers 800-435-7764
- USAA 800-531-8722
- Cotton States 866-714-6902
- Auto Owners 517-323-1200
- Geico (auto) 800-861-8380
- Progressive 800-776-4737
- Travelers 800-252-4633
- Nationwide 800-421-3535

Social Security Benefits
800-772-1213 / 800-325-0778 (TTY)

Red Cross
800-Help Now

Salvation Army

Lost & Found Pet Hotline

Alabama Power Residential Customer Service

- To report a gas leak, line break, etc. 800-292-4008
- Customer Service 800-292-4008

Birmingham Water Works Board

Alabama Dept. of Public Safety (
Get duplicate or renewed driver licenses destroyed in the storms
334-242-4400 (Menu Option)

Volunteer Opportunities
- Hands on Birmingham 2-1-1
- Salvation Army 205-328-2420

Tornado Recovery Jobs
- Alabama Joblink (
- Birmingham Career Center 205-254-1300
- Lawson State Community College Bessemer Campus 205-929-3501 

Other resources:
- "Alabama Tornadoes: How you can help victims of Wednesday's deadly storms (updated)"
- "Alabama Woman's Facebook Page Reconnects Tornado Victims with Personal Items"